Monday, May 12, 2014
Questions On Crucial Texts
One of the reasons I joined this site a few years ago was to have a platform to speak on things that I came to see taught in scripture and Baptist history. I have never quite understood the charge of some that I should not be part of this blog doing what I am, as it is quite common for men recently delivered from erroneous groups to have a desire to share their new found knowledge with others. I have watched several youtube videos and read books in which an individual shared his experience of coming out of Masonry, Seventh-Day Adventism, Mormonism, etc., hoping that others would likewise be rescued or warned of associating with something they felt was bad for their souls. The day that I was excluded from the “Primitive” Baptists I was given little opportunity to offer a defense. What time I was afforded was mostly dedicated to quoting scriptures that, according to the most elementary rules of exegesis, destroyed the casual dismissal ”Oh, that’s talking about a time salvation.”. I was even able to cite men of similar opinion from their very own denomination in support of my claims. But it mattered not. Tradition would rule the day! Consequently, upon leaving the order I had much bottled up inside me that needed to be released; namely, my newly discovered theological and historical convictions. I had to share it with someone. Who would be willing to hear me out? To this day I can count the number on one hand. A portion of what had built up inside has been released in the form of questions that I have posted on this blog, mostly appearing in my postings entitled “Time Salvation Challenge” in which I focus on some crucial passage central in the controversy of Calvinism vs. Hardshellism. A few of them I asked the day I was barred from the order, but all I heard was crickets chirping. Of this though I was not surprised. I thought it would be good to post them again in the hopes that someone…anyone…ingrained in their anti-means, do-nothing, time-salvation philosophy would, if not answer them, at least ponder them in their minds. Maybe, perhaps maybe, they could eventually come to see that they have been in error. First, we have Romans 11:11-15: “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but [rather] through their fall salvation [is come] unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them [be] the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation [them which are] my flesh, and might save some of them 15. For if the casting away of them [be] the reconciling of the world, what [shall] the receiving [of them be], but life from the dead?” 1) Is verse 11 treating of eternal or time salvation? 2) Did time salvation come to the Gentiles through the fall of the Jews? 3) Should the context determine what kind of salvation is under consideration in verse 14? 4) Does the Apostle Paul switch from writing of eternal salvation in verse 11 to time salvation in verse 14? 5) Does he then switch back to eternal salvation in verse 15? 6) Did the casting away of the Jews result in a temporal reconciliation of the world (v.15)? 7) If eternal salvation is under consideration in verse 11 and 15, is it reasonable that the same is true with verse 14 which lies between them? 8) Does switching between eternal and time salvation, and back again, interrupt the flow of the apostle’s thought? 9) Paul says that he “might save some of them”. Which one of the following is true? a) Paul would save them. b) God would save them without Paul. c) God would save them through Paul. 10) If Paul saved them, does this mean that God didn't? 11) If God saved them, why does Paul state he would? 12) Was Paul an instrument in the temporal salvation of some? 13) What premises are influencing your interpretation of this passage? Second, we have Ezekiel 36:26-27: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezek. 36:26-27) 1) Does this covenant treat of eternal or temporal matters, or both? 2) Are walking in God’s statutes and keeping his judgments elements of conversion? 3) Is conversion yoked with regeneration in this passage? 4) Are walking in God’s statutes and keeping his judgments effects of the indwelling Spirit? If so, are they certain of uncertain effects? 5) Is the certainty or uncertainty of these effects determined by the promise? 6) Are the effects of the indwelling Spirit part of the covenant promise itself, or optional supplements to it? 7) Can the covenant be said to be effected if not all its components come to pass for whomsoever it is intended? 8) Are walking in God’s statutes and keeping his judgments subconscious or cognitive actions? 9) How does one 'walk' on the subconscious level? 10) Is the objective reality of salvation and the subjective experience of it joined together in this passage? 11) Doth God effect the whole of this covenant, or only some of it? 12) Are all the elect embraced in this covenant, or only some? 13) Are receiving a new spirit and a new heart conditions for final salvation? 14) Are walking in God’s statutes and keeping his judgments conditions for final salvation? 15) Are walking in God’s statutes and keeping his judgments caused by God? 16) If walking in God’s statutes and keeping his judgments are part of time salvation, does this mean that a new spirit and heart are received in time salvation? 17) Does a person receive God’s Spirit in regeneration or in time salvation, or both? 18) Do the effects of the indwelling Spirit commence in regeneration or time salvation? 19) Does God cause all the elect to walk in his statutes and keep his judgments? 20) Is it given to all the elect to have a new spirit and new heart? 21) Is it given to all the elect to walk in God’s statutes and keep his judgments? 22) Doth God intend to give a new heart and spirit to ALL the elect, but cause only SOME to walk in his statutes? 23) Are all the elect under consideration in verse 26, but only some of the elect in verse 27? 24) Does the "regenerate heathen" walk in God’s statutes or keep his judgments? 25) Does the Spirit of God work effectually or ineffectually in bringing these fruits to pass? 26) If an elect child of God does not walk in God’s statutes, doth God fail in His covenant purpose? 27) Does walking in God’s statutes denote continual or momentary behavior? 28) If some of the elect go to Heaven having walked in God’s statutes while others have not, then how is it said that the elect are all saved the “same way”? 29) If the regenerate infant dying in infancy never walks in God’s statutes, does this mean that no adult can be made to do so, seeing that God’s spirit only has “one way” of saving His people? 30) If the infant and adult are saved the “same way”, does it not follow that the Spirit must cause either ALL of them or NONE of them to walk in God’s statutes? Third, we have Ephesians 1:13-19: “In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power” (Eph. 1:13-19) 1) Is Ephesians 1 dealing with eternal or temporal blessings? 2) Does Paul treat of eternal salvation prior to verse 13, switch to time salvation in verse 13, and then return to eternal salvation for the rest of the chapter? 3) If so, did you reach this interpretation based on the context and sound hermeneutics? 4) Must sinners “trust” in Christ for salvation? 5) Is seed trust under consideration in verse 13? If so, is this the same thing as seed faith? 6) Is the belief of verse 13 evangelical? 7) Does the sealing of the Holy Spirit take place in time salvation or regeneration? 8) Is this sealing optional or definite? 9) Is the belief of verse 13 the same or different than the belief in verse 19? 10) If different, does this mean that the Apostle has pulled yet another switch on us? 11) If they are the same, does this mean that God’s power (v. 19) works through the gospel (v. 13)? 12) Is the “word of truth” Jesus or “the gospel of your salvation”? 13) Is the earnest of the Spirit given to all the elect or some only? In regeneration or time salvation? Fourth, we have Romans 6:17-23: “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:17-23) 1) Is “the servants of sin” a reference to the unregenerate state? 2) Was the doctrine delivered to the Romans while in this state? 3) Was the doctrine, in some way, connected to the transition between death and life, whether regeneration be considered narrowly or broadly? 4) Did the gospel proclaimers wait for the Romans to be born again, and THEN deliver the doctrine unto them? 5) If they did not wait, were they wrong in doing so? 6) If they did not wait, why do you? 7) Is one made free from sin in regeneration or time salvation? 8) Is being made free from sin necessary or unnecessary? 9) If necessary, does this mean that the doctrine played some role in effecting something necessary? 10) If not necessary, then is it not necessary to receive everlasting life at the end? 11) If the Roman believers were set free by obeying the doctrine presented them, why are not all, seeing that all are “saved the same way”? 12) Is “becoming the servants of righteousness” the necessary effect of being made free from sin? 13) Is the “regenerated heathen” a servant of righteousness? 14) Is everlasting life actually temporal life? 15) Is everlasting life (v.23) the same as eternal life (v.24)? 16) Does one receive temporal life at "the end"? 17) If obeying the doctrine (v. 17) involves time salvation, does Paul pull a switcheroo when he speaks of eternal salvation in verse 23? Fifth, we have a few questions regarding Romans 10 in which Paul prays for the salvation of his Jewish brethren. This is only an overview, for many more could be added exposing the error of restricting the verses within to time salvation. 1) If those for whom Paul is praying (10:1) are already saved eternally, then why does he write in Romans 11 that a remnant of this group only is saved(v.5-7)? 2) If the WHOLE of whom Paul is praying (10:1) are already saved eternally, then how could there be a remnant (11:5)? 3) If the remnant only is saved (11:5), does this not suggest that the rest of the nation (10:1) was not? 4) Can it be said that the WHOLE of something is true (10:1), while it yet be true only of a PORTION OF THE WHOLE (11:5) at the same time? 5) If the REMNANT of Romans 11:5 is described as receiving eternal salvation (v.6-7), then is this not the SAME salvation Paul has under consideration when praying for the WHOLE (10:1)? And last, I wrote a response to Elder Michael Gowens’s wrongful handling of Galatians 1:4 (see Here), as if it was supportive of this modern novelty. In reference to Christ, the text reads: "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world; according to the will of God, and our Father." (Gal. 1:4) The following questions show what an error it is to employ this passage in such a manner. 1) Are those for whom Christ gave himself the same as those who shall be delivered from the present evil world? 2) If they are the same and Christ gave himself for all His elect, then does this mean that all shall receive time salvation? 3) Is it true that Christ gave himself for all his elect, but shall grant time salvation to only a portion of them? e.g. "Who gave himself for ALL, that he might save SOME of them from this present evil world"? 4) Is being delivered from this present evil world a "second" salvation or part of eternal salvation? 5) Does eternal salvation involve being delivered from this present evil world? 6) Does the expression "that he might" mean that Christ intended to render time salvation possible, or to make it certain? 7) Is it true to say that Christ might save His people from the present evil world, or that they might save themselves? 8) Is it the absolute intent of the Lord Jesus to give His people a time salvation, or something He has left contingent on the human will? 9) If the former, then why is it effected only for a remnant of God's elect? 10) Are there any blessings connected to the death of Christ that shall not certainly be given (Rom. 8:32) to those for whom he died? 11) Is the blessing of time salvation freely given as a result of Christ’s death? 12) Is time salvation the effect of Christ's work at the cross or the effect of human free-will? 13) Is the deliverance promised the inevitable effect of the redeeming work of Christ? 14) Was it the intent of Christ to accomplish an eternal salvation for all the elect, and a time salvation for the "elect within the elect"? 15) Is time salvation according to God's decretive will? Some of these questions are so basic, but others are a little more complex as they go into the deeper things of theology. Both of them were used by the Lord in convincing me that I was not being honest with the scriptures. My pre-conceived opposition to the Calvinistic “means” position was influencing me to the point that I was ignoring the most basic rules of bible interpretation. If a text seemed to teach gospel regeneration, perseverance, absolutism, the necessity of evangelical faith, repentance, or personal holiness, the “Primitive Baptist Grid” would rise up within me, and I’d force the text to say what I wanted it to say. My plea is that those entrenched in this doctrine would confront the above questions honestly by casting to the side their anti-means preconceptions and interpret the passages cited within their context.